After every dr visit I have been taking photos, I’ve just been slow to upload them. Here is a collection of photos from the last several fills. Not one to be very fond of taking pills, I often skipped taking the muscle relaxers they prescribed to me in the beginning of this process.
I have now learned their value.
As I near the end of the expansion process, my chest muscles are in pain from the day they expand up until the day before I go in for another fill, usually. It takes about that long to taper off and be bearable without having to take the muscle relaxers as prescribed. Opening things–the refrigerator, pill bottles–and carrying things with any weight such as milk, a pitcher of tea or a pot of water can be painful. The right side more so than the left right now, because it has more fluid than the left side.
So here are the photos of the expansion/fill progression:
The small pieces of gauze are to cover the spots where they inject the fluid into the expanders. They must remain covered for 24 hours and I am instructed not to shower until they come off, to discourage any bacteria from getting in anywhere. Since the last infection was started from a bacteria that came from my skin, we are taking every possible precaution.
The darker, wrinkled-looking area on the underside of the breasts are the spots that were super thin right after the mastectomy. These areas were very concerning to me this time around but they have held up rather well so far. With each fill I began to feel a little more optimistic and a little more like my old self. I could feel my confidence coming back. It was nice to want to show off my ever-expanding chest rather than hide it.
Not too bad for no bra, eh? The final result will not look like this. Expanders sit high and are larger around than implants. I am going to have the teardrop-shaped implants so I will have a more natural look when all is said and done. At this point I am so thankful to have anything resembling breasts. I don’t care if they sit up and salute. I’m thrilled to have them at all.
At my last appointment I actually got to see the plastic surgeon himself, and he said the skin looks very good. Yay! He also feels we are probably at the max of what my skin will tolerate with regard to fills. He wants me to come back in two weeks and at that time we will see if we can’t maybe do a little bit more (to see if we can push out the dent in my left breast near the nipple), then we’ll be done and I’ll be in the 3+ month wait prior to the implant exchange. I am so excited. I really need a break from all this dr stuff so I can get back to some sort of normalcy and do some things for myself.
This coming February will be the first anniversary of the mammogram–my first ever–that kicked off this whole odyssey. While it’s been tough and we’ve essentially had to put our lives on hold in many ways, I would make the same decision again.